Sunday saw us attempt a “family day out”. We don’t do enough of them, so it was a good idea. By the end of the day, no strike that, by about 11am on the day we realised why.
The reason why is that this country is absolutely hopeless at days out.
We had got ourselves tickets for the Good Food Show in Birmingham, so had endured the pain of ripping both girls from their beds pre 7am on a Sunday morning. A risky business. We hit road around 8.30, and then the M6 happened.
The M6 between Warrington and Birmingham seems to be a constant stream of 50mph zones, interrupted by a couple of miles of national speed limit zones. Incredibly frustrating.
As we neared the NEC I thought we’d arrive at a reasonable time. However from five miles out the queues started, first on the motorway, and then for about another hour through the endless maze of NEC car parks. It was utterly ridiculous. Why is it that in the UK any event which attracts more than ten cars results in a three hour queue?
I remember the tales of those leaving the big Knebworth gigs, and having to sleep in their cars.
It would be predictable of me to start asking why it is that Disney can take, and then release hundreds of thousands of visitors, every day, without so much as a hiccup. However, why is it that Disney can take, and then release hundreds of thousands of visitors, every day, without so much as a hiccup?????
So we eventually get there, paid the ludicrous £8 car park fee to leave the Mondeo in a muddy field three miles from the actual event, and made the best of it.
We got ourselves a £25 lunch, (three jacket spuds and a sandwich) and then wandered the stalls, scooping some nice free samples of Carte Dor and various alcohols.
There was a distinct lack of freebies to be honest, based on my assumptions that we would be wandering around stuffing belgian chocolates and all sorts of edible frippery down on our necks all day.
On our wanders we did stumble across a few celebs though. Well, it was Andi Peters and the two blokes off of Master Chef, but celebs nontheless. Louise spent about ten minutes cooing over how “ripped” Mr Peters was. Pardon the photo quality, I only had the phone with me.
So we lasted around three hours, and the kids got bored and tired, so we headed for home around 3.35, a little dissapointed with the whole affair really. We had sort of boycotted UK theme parks after ten years of Florida, and this day sort of reaffirmed my Meldrewesque assumption that a day out over here is over priced, badly organised and logistically poor.
We arrived home on Sunday evening tired, a bit poorer, and as ever a little wiser.
Then the week (so far…it is only Wednesday!!) got a whole lot worse as our central heating died…just as we entered December, so instead of having Christmas, we are keeping warm. Our plumber is in for a bumper festive period though. A ludicurous sum of money!!
I haven’t mentioned work yet. It is probably best that I don’t to be honest. My boss left the business this week, under a bit of a cloud. This wasn’t a bad thing really as his specialist subject was making my life a misery. However, same shit different boss will no doubt apply from here on in. Work is crazily busy, which made it very easy of course to co-ordinate plumbers, bank balances and domestic disasters…NOT!
An eventful week then so far. I hope the girls enjoy their satsuma and cashew nuts on xmas morning.
Then, just as I am feeling at my most Meldrew, Louise calls me at work to tell me that she had just heard that our next door neighbour had just passed away!! This is truly tragic, as she was only 45, and has two kids about the same age as mine. She has been suffering with cancer for the past few years, and we have literally seen her wither away and die before our eyes.
As Louise was rightly quick to remind me, our neighbour would love to have the problem of a new boiler to contend with, no matter how large her credit card bill would be as a result. My heart goes out to her husband and especially her two kids. It breaks my heart to think about what they have already been through, and will have to contend with in the future.
Sobering times, and I promise to moan less….a bit.